Musings on George Bush’s Inauguration

The Americans have landed
in a city clean
as fresh vacuumed shag.

They are here
to glimpse their model boy,
bouyant with the support of the people.
People who believe in America.
Why shouldn’t they believe?
The view from their
life affirms their right
to be an American.

But it makes me uneasy.
Riding the Metro with painted faces,
carcasses of furry beasts draped
on women who are trapped, but do not feel it.
And fathers proud
to drag
the kids into the splendor
of power and riches,
the golden calf sacrifice
on America’s altar.

This onslaught is too weird
in Washington. In Washington
where Anglos are the minority.
So it puts me off-balance
this invasion of foreigners
who see me as the the alien. Me
who grew up in their Wonder Bread world
tuned to Mr. Rogers
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

I guess the problem is
I took it all too seriously,
you know,
that second grade shuffle
about life/liberty/the pursuit of happiness.
That’s right–I bought it
like the upstream salmon buys
the shimmering lure.
I swallowed it whole
and it’s ripping my guts out
while I fight the line.

I’ll win–I’m wild!
But, the damn hook is still in me.

this poem first appeared in Dupree’s Diamond News, Vol. 3, Issue 1. July 1989.


last night
i slept on your side
of the bed.
your smell is alive there
and i let it soothe me
like hot water on tired bones.
when i rolled back
to my side
i hated what lurked there,
unkind thoughts
i need to graduate.
like: you do not love me;
you’re with another man.
such dissonance.
i muffled my head
(home to vile moods)
with pillows–
pillows that smell like the back of your neck.

this poem first appeared in Private Eye Weekly, Feb. 9, 1994